The Oscars (88th Academy Awards)

Yesterday, the 88th Oscars took place. I really enjoyed this year’s Oscars, as Chris Rock was a mostly entertaining host, and the awards were delivered in a clever way. I really enjoyed Louis C.K. and Jacob Tremblay as presenters, Louis was especially hilarious! C3P0 had a great moment with his pals R2D2 and BB-8, perhaps one of them should host next year! Some wins really fulfilled our expectations, but others disappointed some of us. In this post, I will share my full thoughts on the wins and awards, but first, here are the winners:

Best Picture: Spotlight
Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu – The Revenant
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Best Original Score: The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song: “Writing’s on the Wall” (from Spectre), by Sam Smith
Best Cinematography: The Revenant
Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Animated Short: Bear Story
Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Documentary Feature: Amy
Best Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Best Live Action Short: Stutterer
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (from Hungary)

I was satisfied with most of these winners, especially the fact that Leo DiCaprio finally win his first Oscar! He definitely deserved the prize for his painfully realistic and marvelous performance in this year’s The Revenant. It’s about time he earned such an award for not only his performance the film, but for his fantastic career, as he is definitely one of my favorite actors alive, and was already nominated five times before this year! Brie Larson definitely earned her Oscar for how moving and deep she was in Room. Mark Rylance was very good in Bridge of Spies, but I don’t see how he won over Tom Hardy in The Revenant. Although I have yet to see The Danish Girl, and although I really wanted Kate Winslet to win for her outstanding performance in Steve Jobs (the year’s most underrated movie), I find it quite awesome that Alicia Vikander won an Oscar for a movie in her breakthrough year in film. I am surprised by how many technical awards Mad Max: Fury Road swept away, almost as much as Gravity two years ago! Fury Road is a great action adventure, but it really only deserved half of the awards it won. Film Editing should have gone to The Big Short or The Revenant, the latter of which should have won at least one of the sound categories. I am also disappointed that Don Hertzfeldt’s beautiful animated short World of Tomorrow didn’t take home the trophy for its category, as it’s by far the greatest animated short I’ve ever seen. Ex Machina winning Visual Effects over Star Wars and The Martian was a surprise as well, although Ex Machina was a great film in its own way, but much less deserved to win the category. Inarritu deserved a second directing Oscar for this year’s The Revenant, but I was taken aback when Best Picture was lost to Spotlight, a story about the Boston Globe’s uncovery of a scandal within the Catholic Church. I have yet to see Spotlight, but I feel that The Revenant took so much effort and had so much emotional power and incredible filmmaking, and that it was suited to win Best Picture more than any other movie. I’ll definitely have to see Spotlight to find out which one was actually worth it, but I feel disappointed that such a difficult and incredible movie filmed in a desolate location lost over a movie filmed in a comfortable location and made for a low budget.

What did you think about this year’s Oscars? Do you agree or disagree with the Academy? Let me know what you thought by commenting below! Hopefully we’ll have much less to complain about next year!

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The 2016 Golden Slice Awards

The Oscars are coming up tomorrow night, so over the past month, I held my own Oscar ceremony! Instead of simply the FilmToppings Oscars, I have decided to call my Oscar ceremonies the Golden Slice Awards from now on, as it’s a fun name that also relates to my site’s name and theme! I’d like to thank my followers on Instagram for voting for these categories, so you guys are the ones who determined these results! Not all my nominees for categories that are also in the Oscars are exactly the same, I took some movies and performances that you guys especially loved as well. I held most of the same categories as last time, including a new category that I started this year. So without further ado, here are the winners of this year’s Golden Slice Awards:

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander- Ex Machina

Best Action: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Cinematography: The Revenant

Best Character: Kylo Ren – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Scene: The Bear Attack – The Revenant

Best On-Screen Duo: Rey and Finn – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Animated Movie: Inside Out

Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Screenplay: Steve Jobs

Best Score: The Hateful Eight

Best Supporting Actor: Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio- The Revenant

Worst Picture: Jupiter Ascending

Best Picture: The Revenant

Those are the winners that you guys selected! I feel that the results of the Oscars will be very similar to most of these, although some of the performances/movies that won here weren’t nominated in that category by the Academy. Anyway, the Oscars are tomorrow night, and hopefully all our predictions are right!

Deadpool

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In this hilarious, non-formulaic superhero action comedy, former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

Deadpool is nothing you would expect out of its recycled genre. Instead of being a cliche, dull, limited superhero movie like others are criticized for, Deadpool chooses to have tons of clever humor, wild and over-the-top violence, and other R-rated content to make it the Deadpool movie fans have been wishing for all along. Ryan Reynolds redeems his career as the hilarious, wisecracking hero who constantly breaks the fourth wall and makes us crack up. He always entertains and feels like the best part of the movie. Morena Bacarrin is also great in her role as Wade/Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa, and although her character was great, she eventually became a “damsel in distress” by the end, and that’s the one part this movie decided to keep from the superhero formula. However, I was still very convinced by Wade and Vanessa’s love story, as it does not feel like another dull romantic relationship, and it was mostly done well, even though Vanessa’s role became very cliched by the end.

The directing from first-time director Tim Miller is fantastic, as this movie always feels so well-realized and different in such a great way. This movie is self-aware about the path it takes, averting the  classic superhero formula that is still recycled today. The fourth wall breaks are always so brilliant, as Deadpool loves to blurt out everything his audiences are thinking. The script is probably the best thing about this movie outside of the cast. This movie’s script made a superhero movie so enjoyable in the most unimaginable way. The script keeps throwing unpredictable humor at you, most that will definitely make you laugh out loud. The opening credits are absolutely hilarious, and from there, the fun doesn’t stop. There is never a dull moment in this movie. In the end, I felt like the movie could have used a little more length, but mainly because I was having so much fun. Also, stay for a hilarious end-credits scene that brilliantly teases the recently greenlit sequel.

Deadpool is an achievement for mainstream superhero blockbusters, with a dirty, raunchy sense of humor, as well as awesome action sequences and a fantastic cast and crew. Deadpool redeems Ryan Reynolds as an actor, and feels so different than other films of its genre that I bet it will soon be considered a superhero classic. If there’s one movie out there right now you should see, it’s Deadpool, so see it to have the best time ever with a superhero movie!

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Bridge of Spies

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During the Cold War, James B. Donovan, an American lawyer portrayed cleverly by Tom Hanks, is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Bridge of Spies is what may be the finest period piece of 2015. Nobody knows how to make these movies like Steven Spielberg does, and his directing highly pays off in this film. Instead of delivering us a huge history lesson of the Cold War, Spielberg gives us a small court drama that takes place during the Cold War. Both Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance deliver great performances, with Tom Hanks digging into his character and making him feel real, and Mark Rylance completely disappearing into his role and providing a slight sense of humor. Although he isn’t too much in the film, Rylance delivers a very realistic performance that he deserves an Oscar nomination for, at the most. Hanks, who has the most screen-time in the movie, entertains and carries on the movie with great humor and monologues, and his character feels very challenged but motivated while defending a member the opposing side of the war. This may be one of Hanks’ finest performances in a Spielberg movie.

What makes Bridge of Spies stand out more than anything else is its directing. Spielberg is doing what he does best with this movie, developing an interesting thriller from such a small subject within a bigger one in our history. It teaches you enough about the setting, but just the right amount to let it focus on the smaller story as well. The way the movie is finds such a thrilling and interesting story within a larger subject as done very well and in a very focused way by Spielberg. In most scenes, he lets the camera flow without many cuts, and it works perfectly in many shots. The story never drags, and there  isn’t ever a dull moment or a scene that doesn’t feel as realistic as the rest. The script from the Coen Brothers is also fantastic, and the writing always felt alive and very thoughtful as well. The script did a great job at delivering every scene’s point clearly, and did well at conveying the movie’s message. The movie’s ending was very satisfying, as the movie has an excellent climax, as well as a delivering ending.

As a Best Picture nominee of this year, Bridge of Spies rewarding enough to be considered worthy of its nomination. With great performances, directing, and writing, Bridge of Spies is one of the must-sees of 2015. See this movie expecting a very talky movie, and not much action, but I think most younger viewers will enjoy this movie, so you should check this one out soon, as it is now on Blu-ray and other home media.

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Hail, Caesar!

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In the most recent film from the Coen brothers, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a Hollywood “fixer” helping the production of the film Hail Caesar, starring famous actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). When a drugged Whitlock is kidnapped by a group named The Future, Mannix is the one in charge of collecting $100,000 and rescuing him. This hilarious comedy also stars an ensemble of Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, and Frances McDormand.

Hail, Caesar! aspires to act as many things: a love letter to the golden age of Hollywood, a hilarious and insanely fun comedy, and an interesting look at Communist beliefs of Hollywood’ hypocrisy. Mostly, this movie succeeds at that. Hail, Caesar is the kind of movie that casts the most famous faces from other Coen brothers movies in only cameos, that has a lengthy but awesome dance number from Channing Tatum (which the other scenes have really nothing to do with), and that loses some sense in its climax with a goal to merely entertain. There was never a dull moment in the movie, I was always pulled in and very entertained. The directing is always spot-on. The tension is always built up perfectly, and every scene cuts to the next right when it needs to. The cinematography from Roger Deakins was great, and he helped bring the style of old Hollywood to life with his camerawork. There were some shots that really impressed me, a few longer than the others, and the cinematography barely ever felt out of place. The score also fits the theme of the movie, and doesn’t ever get too repetitive.

Josh Brolin delivers a spot-on performance as the lead, and he always entertains with his witty dialogue and charm. George Clooney was quite hilarious as a kidnapped actor, who shines in every scene he’s in. Alden Ehrenreich plays a cowboy actor in quite a funny role as well, and the small but more well-known ensemble are great. Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum were all so great in their small roles, and I loved the way their characters were handled. However, they could have been in the film for long, especially Johansson, to better handle their subplots. I loved all the visual imagery of the film, and like I said, it tries be many different things, and thankfully succeeds. The movie’s short length ultimately pays off, considering how silly and fun the final act turned out to be. In many ways, this movie reminds me of 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, with both their ambition, comedic tone, witty screenplay, and relatively short runtimes. Both of them have early release dates, but they are both begging for Oscar love, that of which Grand Budapest Hotel has already received. Although the movie has a specific target audience, and may not be for everyone, I think most moviegoers will love Hail, Caesar! like I did.

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