Tag: Oscars


Oscar-Winning Actors Who Deserved Their Award For A Different Role

February 10, 2021
Anne Hathaway

There are many great actors who’ve never won an Oscar – Ian Mckellan, Alan Rickman (who was never even nominated), Annette Benning, Toni Colette to name a few – but there are some actors who have won an Oscar but some people are left wondering if they got it for the right role.

Al Pacino

Al Pacino in The Godfather
Al Pacino in The Godfather // Credit: Paramount Pictures

What He Won For: One of the all-time greats of acting Al Pacino has any number of roles where he deserved an Oscar, but amazingly the role that got him that award was for Scent of a Woman playing Frank Slade. Pacino is an actor who will take things to 11 and this perhaps gets the better of him in this film.

What He Should Have Won For – Without a doubt Al Pacino deserved an Oscar for The Godfather even if it meant depriving Marlon Brando of it. Michael Corleone not only looks like a different person at the end of The Godfather to the beginning, he is a different person. The audience sees the change he goes through from noble war hero who wants no part of the Mafia to the blood soaked crime-boss who shuts out the woman he loves from his life.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street // Credit: Paramount Pictures
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street // Credit: Paramount Pictures

What He Won For – It certainly felt like Leonardo DiCaprio was owed an Oscar and eventually he got it for The Revenant. He plays Hugh Glass a fur trapper who suffers and it seemed like it was suffering that won the award. The Academy can be very impressed by the ordeal an actor goes through for their art and this was certainly the case.

What He Should Have Won For – A very different role to nineteenth century man mauled by bear DiCaprio was brilliant as depraved stock broker Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. To me Belfort is one of the most appalling characters seen in cinema who doesn’t actually murder anyone but the performance is stunning and it is very hard to play so unlikeable a character.

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway in Colossal // Credit: Toy Fight Productions

What She Won For – Watching Les Miserables was one of the hardest cinema-going experiences I’ve ever had. Admittedly I’m no fan of musicals but Les Miserables managed to tick all the boxes of why that is. Hathaway was on screen for a total of fifteen minutes and perhaps other performances of hers may be more deserving.

What She Should Have Won For – This is very much a personal choice but Hathaway has never been better than Gloria in Colossal. This film deserves to be seen as one of the best of the 2010s but seems to have passed most people by. Hathaway is a sort-of writer with a drinking problem who finds her way back to her old home-town whilst on the other side of the world a giant monster is rampaging through South Korea. These events are not unconnected.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon in Election // Credit: Paramount Pictures

What She Won For – Witherspoon was very good as June Carter in a Johnny Cash biopic that has not really stood the test of time. Of course in this film it is Cash who is the central character and Witherspoon never gets the opportunity to really shine

What She Should Have Won For – Comedy is harder than drama and these and Witherspoon is a great comic actor and her role as Tracey Flick is in Election is unforgettable. Some aspects of the film have not aged well but it is undeniable that Witherspoon is great, giving a performance of someone who is sometimes on the verge of snapping.

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy // Credit: Studio Canal
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy // Credit: Studio Canal

What He Won For – Playing Winston Churchill is a classic Oscar role and something that will appeal to the Academy voters. Oldman’s performance in Darkest Hour was by no means bad but also nothing spectacular

What He Should Have Won For – A role without the fanfare of Winston Churchill but nonetheless a much better performance – George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy. Smiley is emotionally restrained to the point of being stationary and I only remember one outburst from him in the film – but that just makes it more effective. Smiley is the sort of character rarely seen in film these days and Oldman plays it perfectly.

Benicio Del Toro

Benicio Del Toro in Sicario // Credit: Lionsgate
Benicio Del Toro in Sicario // Credit: Lionsgate

What He Won For – Del Toro won Best Supporting Actor for playing Mexican police officer Javier Rodriguez in 2000’s Traffic – a solid film but unmemorable.

What He Should Have Won For – Del Toro has a number of roles that would be contenders but his role as Alejandro in Sicario may be my favourite. Alejandro works alongside the Americans battling the drug cartels, his exact position is unclear but it is soon demonstrated that he has no restraint – showing no problems with torture or murder. The subdued anger of Del Toro is something to behold and he is genuinely terrifying.

Also Read: Oscar Worthy Characters [Part 1]: Vito Corleone

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


Oscar Worthy Characters [Part 2]: The Joker

January 29, 2021
Joaquin Phoenix & Health Ledger

The second article looking at the only two characters where different actors have won an Oscar portraying them – Vito Corleone and the Joker. My last article focused on the character of Vito Corleone from The Godfather films, this time we’ll focus on The Joker. This character has been played by a lot of great actors – the last four film performances (not including animation) of the character were played by Oscar-winning actors. For two of those actors, the role that won them the Oscar was the Joker.


Why So Serious?

Heath Ledger as The Joker // Credit: Warner Bros
Heath Ledger as The Joker // Credit: Warner Bros.

For me, The Dark Knight trilogy is the high-watermark for superhero films, with The Dark Knight being the best. Superhero films are made great not by the hero but by the villain and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker is the prime example of this. It was a stunning and memorable performance. Every scene with the Joker is fantastic and adds depth and understanding to the character. Whether it’s the Joker’s ever-changing scar-origin story, to his attack on his police convoy in which for most of it he has no lines but still conveys what is going on with the character, to the perhaps ad-libbed confused look when the hospital fails to explode, Ledger is amazing. Moving the character away from a criminal who just wants money to the agent of chaos was genius and it allowed the character to work against both Batman and the mobs he originally worked for. Ledger’s Joker became a cultural icon with some much of the design of that character becoming part of fashion and wider culture.

Can You Introduce Me As Joker?

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker // Credit: Warner Bros
Joaquin Phoenix as Joker // Credit: Warner Bros

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is a very different character. There is much debate about this character and whether it is even meant to be the Joker, but coming from the world of comic books having radically different origin stories is perfectly normal. Joker is an origins story but not just for the Joker but for many, many villains – indeed, it tries to show that this is how many real-world problems are created. South Park did an episode in which they argued Trump’s treatment of immigrants was simply creating “jokers”, people who were treated badly and would grow up angry and have a problem with America. Phoenix’s Joker is not a supervillain, he has no powers, no henchman, he’s not even very capable of committing a crime. He is simply a damaged man with nothing to lose. This Joker deals with lies, betrayal and abuse from those closest to him and complete strangers. The wildness of this character at the end of the film is hard to watch and riveting at the same time especially when compared to his passivity in other sections of the film. Some people warned of fans copying the violence in the film but most people just seemed to copy him dancing downstairs.

Phoenix’s performance is exceptional and the character does seem to go through a transformation and become a different person by the end of the film. I would argue Phoenix is the only actor who is genuinely the lead, in the Godfather films the focus is always on Michael and in The Dark Knight obviously it’s on Batman. Whilst there are a number of great actors in Joker it is Phoenix’s film and its success or failure is on him.

Two Characters Four Oscars

Ledger as The Joker // Credit: Warner Bros.
Ledger as The Joker // Credit: Warner Bros.

So why did these characters get more than one Oscar – what do they have in common? The first thing is that they are all great performances, truly Oscar-worthy acting. Brando was already an acting legend when he played Vito and De Niro is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Ledger was a great talent whose life was cut tragically short and Phoenix still seems to be very much at his peak. De Niro and Brando both won Oscars for other performances and both Ledger and Phoenix have given other Oscar-worthy performances.

De Niro and Phoenix both won for origins stories. How did Vito Corleone become such a powerful figure and where did his complicated moral system come from? Things are more complicated with Joker as I don’t think Phoenix’s character is meant to be seen as the same person as any of the Jokers we’ve seen on screen, more just the origins of how you would get to be someone like the Joker.

Both characters are criminals, albeit very different types, Vito has become the archetype old fashioned Mafia boss, whereas the Joker in these two films is more like an agent of chaos, not interested in financial gain or power.

Ultimately though the reason these characters resulted in Oscar wins is a collection of a number of great artists coming together – actors, writers, directors, cinematographers and more, that is what makes these characters great. And with the Oscars, there is a great deal of luck and many of the best performances ever were not rewarded with Oscars. For prime evidence of this Al Pacino did not an Oscar for his role as Michael Corleone, who I think gives the best performance of anyone in those films.

Also Read: Oscar Worthy Characters [Part 1]: Vito Corleone

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


Parasite Director Bong Joon-Ho Once Described The Oscars As “Very Local” Does He Have A Point?

February 17, 2020

Bong Joon-ho, the talented director behind Okja, Snowpiercer and more, recently described the Oscars as “very local” when asked if he thought it odd no South Korean film has ever been nominated for an Oscar before. The director’s meaning seems to be that the Oscars are very biased towards American films. As I’m sure everyone is aware Parasite won four Oscars last weekend, including Best Picture but even with this burst of internationality – are the Oscars “local” awards?

The Undisputed Champion of Film Awards

Bong Joon-ho holds the Oscars for best original screenplay, best international feature film, best directing, and best picture for "Parasite" at the Governors Ball after the Oscars,
Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (10552686aw) Bong Joon-ho holds the Oscars for best original screenplay, best international feature film, best directing, and best picture for “Parasite” at the Governors Ball after the Oscars.

I think most people in America and the UK see the Oscars as the film awards. Winning Best Picture at the Oscars is probably the closest we have to declaring what was the best film of that year. After all, there are many film awards that are specific to the host country, indeed, in South Korea they have the Blue Dragon and Grand Bell awards, both specifically for South Korean films. But I don’t think that’s how the Oscars present themselves. For a start films from all over the world can, and do, win awards, they are not limited to American or English-language films. There is an unspoken rule that every film – or at least every film that had a release in LA – is in contention. Last year’s Best Picture winner, Green Book, not only beat every American film but every Dutch, South Korean Mexican and every other country’s film as well.

Awards Around The World

The BAFTA (source: variety.com)

It does seem that a lot of countries have films awards that are specific to their country, and the Oscars (and the BAFTAs in the UK) are somewhat an exception in ostensibly being worldwide. But I’d argue that for many countries it’s not their national awards but their film festival that is the big deal. France’s, and perhaps the world’s, most famous film festival is the Cannes Film Festival, with it’s biggest award being the Palme d’Or. Just glancing over the winners of this award since 2000 – nine of the winners had some French involvement if we eliminate co-productions that goes down to two French films. Using the same criteria, The Golden Bear from the Berlin International Film Festival only has two films where Germany was involved in co-production. Without prior knowledge of the geography of Italy, I don’t think someone could work out any bias in the Venice Film Festival to its host country, since 2000 Iranian, South Korean and Venezuelan films have won the Golden Lion with only one Italian film winning that award in that time.

10 Billion Reasons Why

Hollywood Hills Sign
The Hollywood Sign (credit: Wikipedia)

So why do films from outside America fare so poorly at the Oscars? Well, most Oscar voters are US based so perhaps there is a bias there. But also the American film industry is huge – making over $10 billion in 2017 and it would make sense that the biggest and most successful country would dominate awards. Again, like no other country American films are watched around the world. In Britain and America to even consider watching a film, not in English, is considered a signifier of high-brow intellectual tastes, whereas to like American films in other countries is the norm. However, it can’t simply be that America makes more films if nothing else India actually produces more. Parasite is only the twelfth film that isn’t in English to be nominated for Best Picture – and the first to actually win – and I think it is impossible to argue that such a list represents the best films ever made.

Another very interesting point in all of this is that for all of Parasite’s success at the Oscars it received no acting nominations. The same was true of Roma last year, a film not in English that did well at the Oscars, and Slumdog Millionaire which won eight – including Best Picture – but featured a cast of non-white actors who when compared to typical Oscar nominees weren’t at all famous. To me it seems bizarre that a film that was considered the best of the year would not contain a single-acting performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. Is this bias towards American actors (and admittedly British actors who seem to be at no disadvantage) or is it simply that Kang-ho song and Sun-kyun Lee do not have the name recognition as Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger? As a case in point, I could rattle off the stars of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood or The Irishman but had to look on IMDb to find the names of Parasite’s stars.

I think it’s clear that the Oscars is not really a competition without bias but despite this a foreign film can still win big. And, of course, even being nominated for an Oscar will raise the profile of a film that lacks the marketing power of something like Joker. If pushed I feel that most people would admit the bias towards America and would see that as perfectly natural.

Also Read: For Your Consideration: Sci-Fi, Comedy & Oscar Snubs

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


It’s Time to Talk About Marielle Heller

February 2, 2020

On the 13th January, Issa Rae, the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure, announced the directing nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards. ‘Congratulations to those men,’ Rae jibed as the names of the depressing all-male line-up loitered on the screen. Moments like this have appeared more frequently over the past few years. At the Oscars in 2018, presenter Emma Stone proclaimed ‘These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year’ shortly before revealing the (not-so-surprising) male winner. A few months prior, Natalie Portman, at the Golden Globes, prefaced her announcement with ‘And here are the all-male nominees’. Routinely, presenters, notably actresses, have taken their moment on stage to voice the frustration at the numbing lack of female nominees amongst what the academy denotes as the year’s best, as worthy and important.  

In 2015, Maureen Dowd’s piece for The New York Times called ‘The Women of Hollywood Speak Out’ hit the newsstands. The article was built on interviews with around 100 women who worked in the film industry from directors, to actors, to writers, and producers. It’s spark? The routine elevation of male filmmakers to the big leagues while female filmmakers are left clambering for recognition from the industry at large. Specifically, the news that Colin Trevorrow’s admirable, but average, debut indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed had yielded a coveted gig: to direct Jurassic World with a $150 million budget. It was then followed by news that he would helm the ninth Star Wars movie (something that would not actually materialise). As Dowd wrote, ‘That kind of leap — from indie to blockbuster — is almost exclusively reserved for young guys in baseball caps who remind older guys in baseball caps of themselves.’

Wedged in amongst the other quotes was writer and director Marielle Heller. ‘In some ways, I think women are perfectly primed to be directors,’ she told Dowd, about the nurturing required by actors on sets. Her debut, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, had premiered at Sundance that past January to strong reviews, earning it a ‘fresh’ 95% on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. The film followed Minnie (a jubilant and doe-eyed Bel Powley) as she begins a journey of sexual discovery in San Francisco during the seventies. It took what could have been a tricky and challenging story, that saw Minnie, a 15-year-old, enter her first sexual relationship with Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård), a significantly older man. It allowed Minnie agency and feminist authorship of her own story that lent the film a mature and fascinating vantage point. 

Director Marielle Heller and Melissa McCarthy on the set of CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? Photo by Mary Cybulski.
Director Marielle Heller and Melissa McCarthy on the set of CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (Photo by Mary Cybulski.)

Now, five years after that debut, and the article, Heller has released two films within a year of each other. Can You Ever Forgive Me?, her sophomore feature starred Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2018. A story of loneliness filled with wit and darkness dealt with an acidic queer writer in self-orchestrated isolation who begins forging notes by famous writers. It deftly honed in on the fragments of Israel’s isolation that resonated deeply with audiences and critics. Richard Brody called it a ‘movie of endings, a mournful film, suffused with an air of doom’ in The New Yorker. While Emily Yoshida wrote, for Vulture, it was ‘one of the most visceral depictions of loneliness [she had] seen in a while.’ 

Her third feature, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, has its roots in that 2015 article. Heller, at a children’s birthday party, found herself in conversation with Tom Hanks (Heller was close with Hank’s son, Colin). It had not been long since the publication of Dowd’s piece, and Hank’s had been moved by it. So began a series of events that led to kismet: Hanks, a powerfully empathetic actor, working with Heller, a powerfully empathetic director. 

Director Marielle Heller and Tom Hanks on the set of TriStar Pictures' A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. (Photo by: Lacey Terrell)
Director Marielle Heller and Tom Hanks on the set of TriStar Pictures’ A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. (Photo by: Lacey Terrell)

A Beautiful Day the Neighbourhood is a quintessential Heller film. It’s an exploration of people and the complex nature of good and bad. It’s about forgiveness, nihilism, daddy issues, family, kindness, cynicism, and rage. It’s driven by a stormy performance from Matthew Rhys as a journalist assigned to interview Mister Rogers (Hanks) and is visually compelling, quirky, and vibrant. At its core though is Heller’s profound empathy, something that reigns in all her films. An anthropologist of the human condition, finding every shade and facet of her characters, Heller creates a greying portrait of manhood, of forgiveness, of the aggressions we hold inside us. 

In 2020, Heller is one of many female filmmakers that have been overlooked and ignored by The Academy, but there is something about her omission that feels so glaring. Not only did she direct Hanks to his first Oscar nomination in twenty years but there is something in her style of filmmaking that stands face-to-face with ‘the old guard’. Her brand of filmmaking is emotional without melodrama, wit without cruelty, nuance without broad strokes. It’s what allows a saintly American icon of children’s television, a sour queer woman, and a euphoric teen on the precipice of sexuality equal space and importance. 

Smaller films, bathed in compassion and understanding, are ignored when they’re showcased next to the machismo and violence displayed by this year’s directing nominees. It’s what denied Gerwig a nomination for her masterful helming of Little Women, it’s what kept Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers off the board entirely, and it’s what keeps Heller from taking her rightful place as one of the most talented and consistent directors working today. Against the barrage of war films, violence porn, and movies about fucking cars we need to refocus our attention. We should turn our eyes away from the deeply repetitive boredom of awards season sexism and put in the legwork, start conversations about the merit and style these filmmakers demonstrate, and people will have to listen. So folks, with that in mind, it’s time to talk about Marielle Heller.  

Also Read: The Biggest Financial Film Flops

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


Review: Bombshell

January 11, 2020

Does it refer to the huge news story? So gigantic it exploded onto the 24-hour news cycle in 2016, dominating the conversation for weeks. Or maybe it means the striking skinny blond newscasters who delivered that story on Fox News? The film’s title, Bombshell, isn’t the only thing that’s hard to pin down in this fictionalised retelling of the sexual harassment scandal that exposed conservative juggernaut Roger Ailes, the head of the controversial cable news channel, as an abuser and predator. 

Bombshell is, politically, a mess. That is to say, its politics are hard to gauge and at times difficult to decipher. The rise of Donald Trump, from an outlier, that no one is taking seriously to the Republican Presidential nominee, plays out in the background, as the severity of Ailes comprehensive harassment becomes clear. Yet, at no point does the film choose to explicitly link the two. It decides to forego the ‘grab them by the pussy’ audiotape or the accusations from at least 23 women, from the 1980s to today, detailing harassment and abuse from Trump himself. It also neglects to mention that after Ailes resigned from Fox News, and took a sizeable pay-out to the tune of $40 million, he walked straight into a job as an advisor for Trump’s presidential campaign

Bombshell / LIONSGATE

You might well wonder if considering the film’s politics necessary. Is this not a bipartisan tale of overcoming sexual harassment? The answer depends on how you view the ‘Fox News’ of it all. Bombshell isn’t any sort of ‘leftist propaganda’ trying to tear down the Fox News monolith. Nor is it really a heroic story of three conservative women, that praises their efforts to cleanse this media giant of bad behaviour. Instead, it sits somewhere weakly in the middle, too scared to really wrestle with the complexity of the situation. One that follows women who worked at the network that helped get Trump elected that has been accused multiple times of doctoring video footage, as well as having severe issues with race and islamophobia. As Alison Willmore wrote for Vulture, the film never significantly engages with the ‘the ideological Jenga of trying to push back at a particular form of oppression while trying to leave all the structures that support it undisturbed.

Outside of the murky omissions and the ignored parallels, the movie faces another hurdle. First and foremost, it is essential to note that sexual harassment, no matter who it happens to, is bad. But when it comes to cinema an audience needs someone to root for, someone you care about and, on some level, like. Thus, the other obstacle facing Bombshell simply: how do you make Megyn Kelly a hero? 

The first step? You get Charlize Theron to play her and have her give an immersive, gripping, and enthralling performance. As an actress, she is relatively unmatched in her commitment to transformation, both here and in her Oscar-winning turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. But Theron isn’t just about make-up and prosthetics, her range is wide-reaching as evidenced by her comedic performances in last year’s Long Shot or 2011’s Young Adult. Theron uses those comedy chops to great effect for some of the films lighter or more self-referential moments – including a fourth-wall-breaking introduction to the Fox News machine. 

The second step? You avoid the stories that made Megyn Kelly the conservative controversy magnet she is. You choose instead to focus on her more palatable actions; namely her challenging of Donald Trump’s misogyny during the 2016 presidential primaries and less on her various shall we say… contrary opinions (though the film does, briefly, address her ‘Santa is White’ comments). 

Bombshell / LIONSGATE

It’s also useful to surround Theron with a cast of likeable and renowned actors including Kate McKinnon’s secretly suffering liberal staffer, Rob Delaney’s sympathetic producer, and Alison Janney’s gruff-voiced attorney. Elsewhere Nicole Kidman is strong as Gretchen Carlson, the original whistleblower, but is in third place, narratively behind Kelly and Margot Robbie’s fictional Kayla Pospisil; a young conservative woman with a dream to be on Fox. Pospisil, our gateway into the newsroom, is a composite character cleverly utilised to show the extent of horrific Ailes abuse without having to expose or monetise any specific woman’s interactions with him. 

Behind the camera, the mixed-messages continue with Jay Roach, the director of grounded political TV-Movies like 2012’s Game Change (that saw Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin), teaming up with Charles Randolph, the writer of the flashy and trick-filled The Big Short. As a result, stylistically, Bombshell falls somewhere in between. The handheld camera and intrusive close-ups give the film a sense of realism. That the action is captured almost like a documentary with multiple cameras on the go at once gives a claustrophobic and newslike feel. Then, occasionally, the film widens out and has actors talk directly to the camera or blends it’s ‘fictional’ narrative with actual documentary as the audio of real testimonies made by six women who accused Ailes of assault are heard with accompanying photos. Yet, the grounded nature of Roach and the showy antics of Randolph never quite gel, leaving it to feel like you’re flicking between two different movies – both of which could be quite interesting.

Bombshell may be a mess politically, disjointed stylistically, and have plenty of other significant issues but, somehow… it’s still entertaining. Maybe it’s a testament to the casting, with Theron especially doing the heavy lifting to pull it all together in spite of everything stacked against her. Perhaps the film is messy, but not quite messy enough. Bombshell might be like the pile of clothes you stuff under your bed or into the bottom of your wardrobe. The room looks clean enough, but the mess is still there, lurking, and you’re going to have to deal with it someday. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Bombshell is in U.K cinemas from 17th January 2020

Also Read: JoJo Rabbit (Review)

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


Academy Awards 2020: Five New categories That Should Be included In The Oscars

December 4, 2019
2019 Oscar Winners

It was in 1929 that the first Academy Awards were given out. Categories such as “Best Picture, “Best Director”, “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” were present from the very beginning and alongside the way many joined them such as “Best International Feature Film” and “Best Documentary Feature”. That last one that was added was “Best Animated Feature Film” in 2001. However, we feel that there are still a few categories being left out.

Academy Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor

That the film industry is packed with established male talent is undeniably true. Previous Academy Award winners are Gary Oldman (Leading Role in 2018), Rami Malek (Leading Role in 2019), Sam Rockwell (Supporting Role in 2018) and Mahershala Ali (Supporting Role in 2019). They already had a long list of credentials behind their names and so sadly the category doesn’t really allow upcoming talent to be nominated.

Therefore we would love to integrate a category that only focusses on actors who make their full-length film debut. It’s hard for upcoming talent to breakthrough in the film world. An Oscar nomination or win in the “Academy Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor” wouldn’t only give them the chance to stand in the spotlight but it would probably also be the start of a prosperous career. Actors for this category would be Zack Gottsagen who puts on an incredible performance in The Peanut Butter Falcon and Kris Hitchen for his stunning acting in Sorry We Missed You

Academy Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor or Actress

Actors and actresses like DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, and Judi Dench are gracing our screens for many years now. Being on-screen was probably a desire they had from a very young ago. Just like them, many young people have the dream to pursue a job in the film industry but these days it can be very difficult to shine as a young actor or actress.

To assure that there will always be upcoming talent we would like to announce the “Academy Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor or Actress”. It would have given actors and actresses such as Jacob Tremblay (for Room) or Brooklynn Prince (for The Florida Project) more chances of being nominated for an Oscar. If it would be integrated now, actors such as Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates (both for JoJo Rabbit) and actresses like Shahadi Wright Joseph (for US) would be potential nominees in this category.

The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony will be held on the 9th of February 2020. (Source: The Academy)

Academy Award for Best Directional Debut

Whether it’s esteemed actors who take place behind the camera for the first time or unknown directors who made a spectacular film debut, they all deserve attention for their directional debut. Pretty sure that releasing a debut can be immensely nervewracking and crucial for a career as a director. Therefore, it would be great if the “Academy Award for Best Directional Debut” would become part of the ceremony. If the Academy introduces this category next year, the names of Mati Diop (Atlantics), Ladj Ly (Les Misérables), Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) and Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz (both for The Peanut Butter Falcon) could be on the shortlist.

Academy Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress

If there’s an “Academy Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor” category then we also should have the “Academy Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress” one. By integrating this category, upcoming and extremely skilful female talent actresses would be able to keep their acting dream alive and bring more diversity to the screen. Names like Awkwafina (The Farewell), Debbie Honeywood (Sorry We Missed You) and Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose) would be the nominees.

Academy Award for Best Stunt

It was during the MTV Movie & TV Awards this year that Brie Larson brought her Captain Marvel stunt doubles, Renae Moneymaker and Joanna Bennett, on-stage when she received that award for Best Stunt. Stunt doubles have an immensely important role in films but they’re often forgotten when it comes to award nominations. As the fifth new category, we would like to introduce the “Academy Award for Best Stunt”. With that, we hope that stunt doubles get the attention and awards they deserve for their (dangerous) hard, physically demanding and passionate work. Moneymaker and Bennett would be nominated for this alongside every stunt double that makes the action look amazing on screen. It might be the biggest category but at the same time, it’s also a very important one.

Do you agree with these five potential new Academy Awards categories? Let us know in the comments.

Also Read: For Your Consideration: Sci-Fi, Comedy & Oscar Snubs

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


For Your Consideration: Sci-Fi, Comedy & Oscar Snubs

November 24, 2019

As the year nears its end we head towards what is perhaps the most magical time of the year – Oscar Season. This is when studios tend to release the films they want to be seen as Oscar contenders as apparently academy members have very short memories so being recent helps a lot.

The Oscars

The Oscars have been going on for decades, the first being held in 1929, and has been held every year since, not letting war, industry strikes and indifference get in the way. Importantly, the Academy, the people who vote for the Oscars are all in the filmmaking industry. This is in contrast, to say, the Golden Globes, which is voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Membership to the Academy is by being nominated or winning an Oscar or being nominated by two existing members.


Being nominated or winning an Oscar is not simply about being the best. Studios, and sometimes individuals, campaign for an Oscar. There is a small industry in Hollywood around this with millions of dollars being spent on advertising and promotional events. There’s not only campaigning for your own but if you want to do a little to damage to another film’s campaign so be it. When Good Will Hunting was looking like a strong Oscar contender a rumour started that the film wasn’t written by the stars, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, but by their friend and filmmaker, Kevin Smith. The Oscar business can be pretty cut-throat.

The Right Sort Of Film

I do have a couple of axes to grind with the Academy in terms of who wins Oscars. And while I am still angry The King’s Speech beat The Social Network for Best Picture that’s not what I’m going to talk about. There are certain types of films that win Oscars. They tend to be dramas. They tend to be on weighty topics. They have tragedy in them. Films are often described as Oscar contenders before anyone has seen them simply by knowing what the film is about. And in my opinion, there are two genres that do not get the level of respect from the Academy they deserve: science-fiction and comedy.

Annie Hall (source: oionline.com)

To deal with the latter first, as I said, the Academy loves tragedy. Give them a sad story full of death, illness and struggle and you’re halfway to your Oscar. But if you make them laugh, they might enjoy it but you’ll probably not win any awards. Judging by my own criteria the last comedy to win Best Picture was Woody Allen’s Annie Hall in 1977 (films like The Artist or Argo may have comedic moments but are not comedies). So no nominations for The Man With Two Brains, This Is Spinal Tap or Shaun of the Dead, films far superior to some Oscar winners. I think comedy is far harder to do than drama, to paraphrase a famous quote that has been attributed to many people – Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.

Next up is science-fiction. I went back to 1950 and couldn’t find a Best Picture Oscar winner film that was science-fiction, in Best Director only Gravity comes close to that category. 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most iconic and influential movies ever made, wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture and while I’m sure actual nominees Rachel, Rachel and The Lion In Winter are great films I feel the Academy made a mistake there. The categories that sci-fi films do traditionally get nominated in are technical awards. Only recently have superhero films managed to crack into Oscar awards territory, Logan was nominated for Best Screenplay and Black Panther for Best Picture. Many people think that The Dark Knight‘s omission from Best Picture nominee was what prompted the Academy to increase the number of nominees.

Mad Max: Fury Road (credit: Warner Bros.)

One of the most egregious Oscar snubs of recent years was the film The AV Club recently put top in their list of films of the decade – Mad Max: Fury Road. The film did win some Oscars, e.g. Costume Design, Sound Mixing and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director but I was stunned that there was no nomination for Charlize Theron. Not only was Theron brilliant (and already an Oscar winner) but the film ticked a lot of boxes for Oscar films – there was tragedy, there was suffering and there was drama. Theron’s character, Furiosa, even managed to upstage Max, whose name is in the title of the film.

Groundhog Day (source: nofilmschool.com)

The comedy equivalent is a bit further back but the truly brilliant Groundhog Day which got a grand total of zero Oscar nominations. What more do the Academy want? Groundhog Day is a hilarious comedy, with a unique premise, an amazing central performance from Murray, and is a film that somehow manages to tread a careful line of being funny whilst musing on the meaning of life. And has numerous suicides.

As I said, Oscar season is soon upon us and we shall see if this year bucks the trend.

Also Read: Rebel Without A Pulse, Art Without A Soul?

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


2019 Oscar Nominations

January 22, 2019

Nominations for the 2019 OScars have been released. ROMA and The Favourite lead the way with ten nods each. Here’s the full list of nominees:

Best Motion Picture of the year:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite

Green Book
A Star Is Born

Best Director:

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Adam McKay, Vice

Performance by an actress in a leading role:

Yalitza Aparicio, ROMA
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Performance by an actor in a leading role:

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Performance by an actress in a supporting role:

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, ROMA
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best foreign language film of the year:

Cold War
Never Look Away

Best original screenplay:

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Green Book
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Best adapted screenplay:

Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters and Eric Roth, A Star Is Born
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott, BlacKkKlansman
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best animated feature film of the year:

Incredibles 2
Isle Of Dogs
Ralph Breaks The Internet
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Best documentary feature:

Free Solo
Pale County This morning, This Evening
Minding The Gap
Of Fathers And Sons

Achievement in film editing:

Barry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansman
John Ottman, Bohemian Rhapsody
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, The Favourite
Patrick J. Don Vito, Green Book
Hank Corwin, Vice

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):

‘All The Stars’, Black Panther
‘I’ll Fight’, RBG
‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’, Mary Poppins Returns
‘Shallow’, A Star Is Born
‘When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings’, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

Achievement in cinematography:

Robbie Ryan, The Favourite
Caleb Deschanel, Never Look Away
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Matty Libatique, A Star Is Born
Lukasz Zal, Cold War

Achievement in production design:

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart, Black Panther
Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton, The Favourite
Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas, First Man
John Myhre and Gordon Sim, Mary Poppins Returns
Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez, ROMA

Achievement in visual effects:

Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):

Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther
Terence Blanchard, BlacKkKlansman
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

Achievement in sound editing:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Quiet Place

Achievement in sound mixing:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
A Star Is Born
First Man

Achievement in costume design:

Mary Zophres, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther
Sandy Powell, The Favourite
Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns
Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots

Best live action short film:


Best animated short film:

Animal Behavior
Late Afternoon
One Small Step

Best documentary short subject:

Black Sheep
End Game
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence.

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:

Mary Queen of Scots

The Oscars take place Sunday 24th February

91st Oscar Nominations

60 Seconds of Film – 14th December 2018

December 14, 2018

Watch this week’s 60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly round-up of film news, presented by Jules Brook.

60 Seconds of Film – 14th December 2018

Watch this week's 60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly round-up of film news, presented by Jules Brook.

Gepostet von Big Picture Film Club am Freitag, 14. Dezember 2018

Time To Rethink The Box Office Film Charts?

August 8, 2018
Box Office - http://thetoweronline.com/

Last week news broke that the Andy Serkis directed Mowgli was acquired by Netflix and won’t see a large scale theatrical release and will be on the streaming platform in 2019 (not later this year as originally intended). This decision marks two important changes in the film industry: major film companies becoming more risk-averse with theatrical releases, and the ability for streaming services to now take on would-be “blockbuster” film releases.

Earlier this year Sci-Fi horror Annihilation suffered a similar fate, going directly to Netflix for its international release. And with 11 million viewers in its opening 3 days the Netflix original Bright, starring Will Smith, was a glimpse into what a big budget feature film can do while still being premiered on a streaming service. So, how does the rise in straight to Video-On-Demand platforms change how we should view the film charts? When can a VOD movie be considered a commercial success? And what does this mean for the film industry?

Where do they stand?

The basic cinema experience hasn’t changed in the last 100 years. Major film companies like Warner Bros & Paramount Pictures have primarily worked on the basis of a theatrical release of a film. This has meant we’ve had a fairly consistent measure of what the current popular films are as a measure of revenue generated at a cinema’s Box Office on any given week. For the UK cinema Box Office, this information has been collated by analytics company ComScore since 1991. Cinema admissions in the UK have remained fairly stagnant over the last 10 years, with most annual admissions in this timeframe being between 165 million – 170 million. Therefore the growth in domestic ticket revenue has been driven by higher ticket prices and premium cinematic formats such as IMAX & 3D cinema.

On the other hand, by the start of 2018 over 11 million households in the UK held a subscription to Netflix, Amazon or NOW TV, up 25% from the same period the year before. This represents just over 40% of UK households signing up for a Subscription Video-on-Demand service. More notably, streaming revenue is expected to overtake traditional Box Office revenue in the UK by 2020.

Gnarls Barkley (Danger Mouse & CeeLo Green)
Gnarls Barkley (Danger Mouse & Ceelo Green)

Although both industries have their differences, comparisons can be drawn from the music industry. A key watershed moment in the U.K music industry landscape was in 2004 when digital downloads were included in the charts, which saw Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” land the number 1 spot from digital downloads alone in 2006. 10 years after the introduction of digital downloads, the UK’s Official Charts Company incorporated streaming data into the charts for the first time in 2014. While the music industry has arguably had a tougher time monetizing its music and avoiding piracy, it has in recent years been more receptive in changing its measures of success to better reflect how people are consuming music. Although the Box Office remains the gold standard for measuring commercial success of a film, the growth of Netflix, Amazon Prime and others will surely begin to question how we measure success within the film industry.

A measure of success

As part of the eligibility criteria for feature-length films, both BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Awards) & Oscars require films to have a commercial theatrical release, with films that have had their first exhibition on streaming platforms ineligible for consideration. Smaller, more niche film awards like the Streamys & The Webbys have emerged in an attempt to fill this void. This resistance of the ‘old guard’ to acknowledge new media is nothing new in arts and entertainment. The recent banning of Netflix at the Cannes Film Festival is further proof of this. Despite opposition, The Venice Film Festival is bucking the trend and will screen 6 Netflix films this year. Whilst it’s a risky move for the festival, ultimately it is one that would see it on the right side of history in years to come.

In a world shifting towards Netflix & Amazon, great talents within the filmmaking industry are still not properly being acknowledged for their work on those platforms. A large part of this issue is what our measure of a successful film is in this day and age, an intermediate solution might a secondary industry-recognised film chart based on streaming. Or maybe we should look into adopting a version of the music industry model?

In the immediate future expect the Box Office chart based on cinematic ticket sales to remain. However, in an industry where money talks this discussion will continue, particularly as the revenue and influence of subscription streaming platforms continue to grow. If the music industry has successfully amalgamated digital, streaming and physical retail sales into a chart to accurately reflect the most commercially successful films of the moment, surely the movie industry can too?


Five Must See Films for 2018

January 7, 2018

As the 2018 “awards season” approaches, we get the opportunity not only to celebrate the biggest films of 2017 but to start looking ahead at what’s to come for 2018. We decided to put together a selection of five of five must-see films for the coming year. Our list comes from a selection of filmmakers who have screened films with Big picture Film Club.

1. “The Sisters Brothers”

Directed by Jacques Audiard; starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Joaquin Phoenix [Recommended by Brady Hood]

Brady: Upon first reading the novel of the same name I instantly fell in love with the writer Patrick De Witt and immediately bought all of his novels (as well as enquired about the rights!). Add this delightfully wicked and charming story to a director who I consider one of the greatest around and surely we’re on to a winner!! But most appealing is to observe what Audiard will do with the comedic tone of this story when all his other films have very little to laugh about. A very appealing prospect to behold and what I hope will be a fantastic move for two very talented storytellers.

2.Ready Player One

Directed by Stephen Spielberg; starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke [Recommended by Nick Barrett]

Nick: I guess the only film I’m really looking forward to is Spielberg’s Ready Player One as I’m a big fan of the book and all round eighties nostalgia geek. From the trailer it looks like they’ve nailed the look of the ‘stacks’ and the virtual Oasis environment – can’t wait!

3.A Wrinkle in Time

Directed by Ava DuVernay; starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine & Gugu Mbatha-Raw [Recommended by Molly Boughen]

Molly: I am eagerly awaiting the release of this film as I am a huge fan of Ava DuVernay, a brilliant director who leads the film with a strong female cast, writers and her as a director.


Directed by Harry Hitchens [Recommended by Molly Boughen]

Molly: Breakthrough is an independent documentary funded through Kickstarter by the production company Studio Everyday. It is a wonderful documentary by Harry Hitchens following other artistic people and why people make art.

5.The New Mutants

Directed by Josh Boone; starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Maisie Williams [Recommended by Dan Horrigan]

Dan: I’m really looking forward to New Mutants and it’s array of characters. That alongside a rumoured horror vibe sends the anticipation levels through the roof. This will be awesome.

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Brady Hood, Nick J Barrett, Molly Boughen & Dan Horrigan for their contributions.